The tennis team has received a commitment from a Colorado high school standout. Claire Runge, a Niwot High School senior, has ties to UT already.
“My brother is currently a freshmen there [at UT],” said Runge, “and I’d really like to go to school with him.”
Though pursuing tennis, Runge played multiple sports in high school. Cross training was an important part of her building process, and she focused on areas to improve cardio conditioning and hand-eye coordination.
“I’ve been on varsity cross country for four years, varsity basketball for two,” Runge said, “and varsity tennis for four.”
Tennis however, won the three sport stand-off. Its competitive versatility and differing challenges appealed to Runge.
“I got into tennis in middle school,” said Runge. “I’m drawn to tennis because I’ve always had such good friends I can play with and it’s a sport you can play alone or with a team.”
She felt her baseline game was the strongest and looks to improve the net play. Coach Al Dufaux noted that Runge still has work to do, but is excited to have her on board.
“She will come in and compete for a spot in the bottom half of the line up,” Dufaux said. “But she’ll be a contributor.”
The team will only graduate one senior this season and welcome back all other members as either sophomores or juniors. Runge hopes to work her way through the rankings and gain a place in a top seed. But when she’s not on the tennis court, she stays active elsewhere.
“I’m very busy playing basketball and running,” said Runge. “But I also squeeze in time for hip-hop and refereeing elementary and middle school basketball games. I’m also a tennis camp councilor in the summer.”
As a prospective psychology major, her interests carry her off the court and into the books to study people’s minds and how they are molded. With the next four years planned, she remains four months away from arriving at her top choice school.
“I love the University of Tampa,” Runge said. “It’s in such an amazing location and it’s a beautiful campus.”